It’s cool to see a pop rock act come out and start to take off like Dallas, TX band Northern National has. In their current form they’ve been around for just a few years, but they’ve already managed to get some big things done. They’ve toured with the Unlikely Candidates, cleopatrick, and Blue October and they’re above over 850,000 streams on Spotify. When you consider they’ve only released two EPs and a few singles, that stream count is even more impressive. This year, Northern National is slated to release four singles in total. Two of them are out there already; “Not All Family Is Blood” and “Half-Hearted Love.” Alternative Addiction recently chatted with Northern National’s Kanne about the band’s two newest singles, their live show, and how they started.
“I play keys and write songs alongside our singer Rossi,” said Kanne getting into the band’s origins. “Rossi and I started writing together in 2013 as just a side project. We were jamming doing different things and that grew into what this is now. Northern National as it is now released our first song in 2016. ‘Love is Fire’ was released in 2016, and that was originally just Rossi and I. The rest of the band were just kind of hired guns at first, and then we brought them on to be part of the band at the end of that year.”
The band’s first two EPs were both solid releases, but they aren’t as impressive as what the band has done recently. When the song “Not All Family Is Blood” came out earlier this year it got noticed by several tastemakers online and it grew the band’s audience substantially. The song is an important song for Northern National and basically, it all started with the song title.
“Rossi came up with that line after we had toured with Blue October and we were reworking ourselves as a four-piece,” said Kanne recalling the making of the band’s biggest song to date. “He came up with that line and started writing a lot of different melodies for it. We liked that concept a lot. cleopatrick have a song called “hometown” and the idea of how they conceptually wrote that song inspired the rest of ‘Not All Family Is Blood’ lyrically. The idea of bonding together and fighting for something, whatever it is, is what that song’s about. For us, it’s about our bandmates and friends that are close to us. Even though you’re born into something, that doesn’t mean they’re the closest people to you. The real family you form is the people you choose to go through life with. That song is an anthem for us.”
“Not Al Family Is Blood” got 2019 off to a good start for Northern National, but they’re hoping their new single, “Half-Hearted Love” keeps the momentum going. That song didn’t start with a line or a concept as much as it started with Northern National wanting to do something different.
“One thing we want to do with these new songs is we don’t want to be the same band. We don’t want to sound like whatever’s prevalent at the time. We have a lot of different songs that we write. We’re all influenced by different things. That song started out with a guitar line/hook - and we built it all around that. We worked on it on an acoustic piano around that hook.”
“Lyrically, it means a lot to me because of what it talks about. The first line of the song sets up the entire song and the bridge incorporates everything else. There’s a line in the song that says: ‘we keep on repeating and searching for meaning, it’s what we do, it’s nothing new’. People think there’s something that’s going to satisfy them and then whatever reason – it doesn’t. So, thinking about it like a relationship, you don’t end it because it’s a bad thing. Sometimes you can just end it because it’s time to try something new. It’s a song that people can belt out and sing along to and feel emotionally compared to some of our songs that are more rock songs.”
So, with two new singles out in 2019 and two more to go, Northern National feels like they’re on the cusp of doing something great… making it as a new pop rock band. A lot of what they’re doing is dependent on a few different things. A big one is their ability to make an impression with their live show. With a few festival things lined up for later in the summer, and hopefully a tour they’re able to hop on before 2019 is done, they’ll rely on making an impression with crowds to continue to build their fanbase.
“That’s the thing that we get the most excited about,” said Kanne about Northern National playing shows. “We love writing songs but something that people need to see is how high our energy is. We jump around. We go crazy. I’d like to think that from the band’s we’ve toured with. We like to put on a show and have a good time. The other thing is, everyone who supports us is family. We’re super loyal to people who come to our shows. We’ll spend however long we need to hang out with everybody after our set. We’ll watch the band we’re opening for from the crowd. We want to enjoy everything about this as much as we can.” – aa